A cute harbour town with a spooky past
ith its imposing Abbey looming from the cliff tops, age-old cobbled streets, Dracula-inspired sights, sea mists drenched in folklore, and picturesque houses, Whitby is about as atmospheric as things get. Add to the mix the fact that this North Yorkshire seaside town is situated along one of Britain’s finest stretches of coastline, with cliffs, bays, sandy beaches and attractive villages and you’ve got yourself one cracking holiday.
History and Heritage
It’s impossible to avoid the gothic majesty of Whitby Abbey which looms over the town. Kings have been laid to rest here, saints made it their home, and even Dracula hung out there - in short, it has an atmosphere and history you can really get your teeth into. With more than 1,000 years as a port, there’s plenty of maritime history to lap up.
Arts and Culture
On the cliffside overlooking Whitby Bay, you’ll find the Victorian Pavilion Theatre - the perfect location for everything for a tea dance or a Northern Soul shakedown. Offering an inspirational space for art work and a cracking cup of coffee, the Art Café is great for a caffeine and cultural fix. For local history and paintings, the Whitby Museum is a must visit.
Must See Attractions
For oodles of history and gothic atmosphere visit Whitby Abbey before heading out to sea on the Mary Ann Hepworth , Whitby's former lifeboat. For a guided-tour with extra bite, join the Bram Stoker Dracula Experience for spooky stories and Stoker trivia. Alternatively, you could load up on garlic at dinner and climb the 199 steps to St Mary’s Churchyard by moonlight.
Food and Drink
Just follow the smell of oak smoke and you’ll find some delicious smoked kippers. Wash them down with a cup of Yorkshire tea at Monks Haven Café as you watch the world pass by through the large bay windows. For mind-blowing fish and chips fried the traditional way in beef dripping head to the Quayside fish restaurant .
Three days of nautical competitions ends with spectacular fireworks at the Whitby Regatta . From impromptu jams in the cosy pubs to big name acts packing out venues across the town, Whitby Folk Week is seven days in August of serious toe-tapping. The Captain Cook Festival celebrates the town’s proud seafaring tradition or you could always indulge your gloomier tendencies at one of the town’s legendary Goth weekends .
Captain James Cook served his apprenticeship in Whitby in 1746. Explore the explorer’s life at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in the C17 harbourside house where he lodged. Bram Stoker visited the town several times when writing Dracula. Sit on his memorial bench and take in the view across the harbor to the ruins of the Abbey and St Mary’s Church that inspired the novel’s most famous scenes.
The Dracula Tour is just the right side of scary, with stories that will thrill but not give you nightmares. For a family bike ride, nothing beats the spectacular cycle route along the old coastal rail line. Take a road trip to Flamingo Land for rhinos, hippos and adrenalin-pumping rides. Kids potty about Potter should recognise both Goathland and Grosmont railway stations from Hogwarts station.
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More about... Whitby
DiscoverYorkshireCoast.com - Official Tourism website for Whitby, Scarborough and Filey.
Things to do
From events and attractions to fine dining and nights out; discover things to do in Whitby.